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Iran’s Strategy of Terrorist Blackmail in a Historic Perspective

This article argues that the Iranian regime successfully uses a terrorist blackmail strategy since the 1979 hostage saga of American diplomats at the US Tehran embassy, the bombings against the US Marines and French paratroopers of the Multinational Peace Force in Beirut in 1983, the kidnapping of dozens of Western academics, businessmen and diplomats in Lebanon in the 1980 – 90s and a long list of similar worldwide terrorist events during the years. Only rarely have the Iranian leaders been deterred, when their leaders felt that there was a direct threat to them, like by the Mykonos trial in Germany in 1997, or Iran’s territory was in danger, as after 9/11 or the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003.

The author analyses the Western powers’ policy during these crises, the waves of Iranian and its proxy Hezbollah attacks in the 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s and focuses on several case studies, such as France, Germany, Argentina, Thailand, India and Turkey. It also criticizes the policies of the involved governments and the lack of effective responses to Iran’s “blackmail terrorist strategy” and “hostage diplomacy” in the past and until recently.